There is a thin dividing line between what we call modern medical science and alternative health care. Many people believe medicines derived from herbs or other natural products have scant scientific credibility. However we should remember that approximately 70% of the current modern medical pharmacopoeia is derived from natural products often with varying degrees, sometimes none, of chemical modification. Amongst the most common “naturally derived” drugs are digitalis (from the Fox glove flower), aspirin (from willow bark), and many others.

In the treatment of IgAN we often see ACE inhibitors (derived from snake venom) and Fish Oil (a natural product in close to a raw state) are amongst the most commonly prescribed medications. I never miss a chance to tell new doctors or others interested in my personal medication regime that I use state of the art snake oil medicine.

Of course there are in fact many very serious problems with alternative health concepts and many herbal medications are quite dangerous. There is even a class of kidney failure known to medical science as Chinese Herb Induced Kidney Failure which is a very serious condition brought on by the administration of herbal treatments. One has to be careful with alternative health concepts but this is not to say that there are not established useful alternatives to modern and often more expensive treatments.

In addition to the alternative of natural products for treatment plans there are quite a number of other alternative health care practices that may help with IgAN and other chronic or autoimmune diseases. These range from stress reducing benefits of physical and meditative exercise to Finnish Saunas and special diets.

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